Nail fungus (also known as onychomycosis) is caused by the penetration of microscopic organisms (dermatophyes) into the nail. The infection causes the infected nail to thicken, loose texture and discolor with unsightly yellow or brown opaque areas. Healthy nails have a pinkish hue, if you have yellow nails, this could be a sign of a fungus infection.
So how worried should you be if you have yellow nails caused by a nail fungus and what can you do about it? Researchers at FungusFacts.com have considered the mass of information on the subject and set out 7 things you should know to be nail-fungus-savvy.
1. Nail fungus infections are treatable
There are two main treatment approaches: The first is by the application of topical medications. These range from home remedies, homeopathic products and anti-fungal nail creams and lacquers specifically designed to remove nail fungus. A second approach to get rid of fungal nails is by taking medications orally over a extended period of time.
2. Your choice of treatment depends on severity
Some treatments are only effective with mild infections where only small parts of the nail are infected. If the fungal infection has affected the lanula – the moon shaped white area at the base of the nail – treatments designed for the treatment of more advanced conditions may be needed. Oral medications are normally only prescribed for very severe cases as side-effects have been reported.
3. Common causes of fungal nails
Many toenail fungus infections start as Athlete’s foot as both Athlete’s foot and toe-nail fungus infections can be caused by the same fungal organism. Others are contracted in public areas which are moist and warm (conditions where Fungus Clear fungi thrive) such as swimming pool changing rooms and communal shower areas. Sufferers also report contracting infections after a pedicure or manicure in instances where the service provider does not disinfect nail care tools between clients.
4. The condition is progressive
Toenail and fingernail fungus is not a trivial, cosmetic condition. It is a progressive disorder that, if left untreated, can result in the loss or disfigurement of the nail, reduced mobility and can effect your self-esteem. Also given the infectious nature of the disease, it can easily affect all your nails.
5. Very common indeed
The condition is very common indeed. It has been estimated that fungus infections are present in around 8% of the population at any time and nail fungus is the cause of more than half of total nail disorders. Toenail fungus is more common than fingernail fungus.
6. Treatment times are long
The recommended treatment times with most products are long with some topical treatments requiring twice-daily application. Persistence and consistency is needed to stick to a routine of application without interruption. To be completely free of the fungus infection sufferers have to wait for a new nail to grow out which takes approximately 6 months for fingernails and 12-18 months for toenails.